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The Unexpected Alternative to TalentLMS (Hint: It’s not an LMS)

 | by 
Abhinav Arora
Abhinav Arora
·
8
min read

Post-pandemic, most training programs for employees have moved online. But, the tools that run these programs are outdated. What is the alternative? Let's find out.

The Unexpected Alternative to TalentLMS (Hint: It’s not an LMS)
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TalentLMS describes itself on its homepage as “the LMS built for success”.

They’re a software for small to midsize businesses to train their employees & customers.

It’s simple and easy to use and has been the go-to choice for teams for a while. 

It has a clean, clutter-free interface that makes it really easy for your users to enjoy the content.

It’s also fairly customizable, courtesy: integrations like Zapier.

What TalentLMS does well

When TalentLMS was first launched in 2010, content was the backbone of most online course platforms.

Online courses were a way to push out content, create quizzes and track assessments. And, TalentLMS hits many of those checkboxes:

- Offers a suite of features for online learning, including quizzes, exams, and certificates

- Allows you to easily create and manage your courses and trainees

- Has a user-friendly interface that makes it easy for instructors & trainees to start

- Affordable (plans start @ $69/mo)

Where TalentLMS falls short

Employee training is an industry where education has taken place mostly offline.

Online LMS was just a storehouse of course content.

When L&D (learning and development) teams first discovered an online LMS, they stuffed it with videos of lectures by expert trainers. 

But they soon discovered that up-to 70% who signed up to their training wouldn’t finish them, and many answered fewer than half the course’s questions. Many didn’t start at all.

This did raise some concerns as to why they failed. And when the instructors asked trainees - they didn't have any real feedback or advice on how they could improve themselves.

Even though your employees may be mandated to finish a course - this is not the way.

Humans cannot learn alone in a vacuum.

Online vs Offline 

Remember the days of offline L&D training. They’re social and full of group activities.

Learning retention is way longer when training is done as a team exercise.

You talk to each other, ask questions, and have a lot of fun doing that - you're “fully” engaged.

In a remote work environment, none of this happens.

It is unfamiliar territory for everyone and we’re all still figuring it out.

During in-person training, instructors don’t just narrate information, they also do the following

- They ask questions,

- They answer questions from trainees,

- They direct trainees to work problems with each other,

- They have open discussions with the group. 


None of those things happen on video automatically.

Pre-recorded lectures merely tell trainees what to learn and when to learn it with no regard for their questions or struggles.

Watching a lecture sitting in your bedroom in your pajamas on “how to draw” is not the same thing as sitting in an in-person live drawing class. 

Remote training is hard. Period.

How to bring the social learning experience online?

While online doesn't quite provide the same experience due to a lack of reaction from the audience, there is a way out. What you’ll need: 

a) Ability to interact with each other in a shared community space (chat, video, audio, etc)

First, in a community setting, your trainees can chat, discuss in forums, talk in voice rooms and so much more. 

Second, the trainees can ask for feedback on assignments in real-time. They can have access to the trainer.

Third, they can crack the assignments together and ask doubts in forums. Collaborative learning builds accountability and faster learning.

Lastly, they can build a solid network. Your trainees can build lifelong friendships. 

This can positively impact the work culture and employee bonding.

b) Ability to reward trainees for good performance /contribution

We love rewards, don’t we? Who doesn’t like the idea of getting coins or points?

You can use this same reward system in the training communities . This will create a healthy competition between the employees.

Have you ever played Temple Run or Candy Crush? Remember how we used to get gems and lives for performing certain actions? Same principle applies here.

You can assign coins to the trainees. You can decide the criteria for that. Some examples you can make use of are:

- If trainees complete a task on time

- If they contribute to a discussion

- If they share a value post

Imagine earning certain coins could get you a raise :) 

c) Ability to host live events and workshops

Which is better? Watching a recorded video or attending a live event?

Virtual events between trainees and the trainer are a must to enable a good social experience. Solving doubts in real time is also possible through this.

A live streaming event has so much more engagement than a recorded video lesson. 

Trust me, your trainees are going to love these virtual events. 

Bring an interesting speaker in your community domain.  

Allow one or two of your trainees to get on stage and talk to the speaker and ask questions.

The possibilities are endless.

3 social learning techniques you can apply

Methodology #1: Think-Pair Share

Have you ever seen two people in deep thought looking at something?

That is exactly what think-pair-share looks like. This works online as well.

You work online with your partner, form a thesis about a thing or an issue and then discuss with the entire class what you've discovered.

All you have to do is — you guessed it — pair off trainees into small teams (teams of three also work).

At the end of lecture, ask them a question that is open-ended to get the conversation flowing, then ask them to share their responses either as a presentation during the next session or on a discussion board thread.

Afterwards, if there are enough people for it, the pairs may be reshuffled into other partners.

You need to create separate team channels to do this.

Post this, during the presentation time, the trainees could make use of a video stage channel to present their findings in front of the other trainees. 

Methodology #2: Brainwriting

If you are a quiet person, chances are you always felt this, "I always get less attention," thing all the time during brainstorming sessions.

Brainstorming is a flawed technique - that has even worse implications when done online.

Use the “brainwriting” exercise instead - a technique that encourages trainees to generate ideas before class discussions via writing them down on paper instead of speaking them aloud.

Brainwriting lets everyone feel more confident about sharing their ideas and no one runs the risk of having not expressed themselves at all.

How it works:

The instructor introduces a topic for discussion and before every meeting, trainees have some time to brainwrite ideas for the particular assignment.

After this, they can choose to submit their thoughts anonymously. You can use google forms to facilitate this.

This way the classroom atmosphere is free from biases that might prevent more shy trainees from sharing their ideas with others.

Before the next session, everyone can read over the submissions and provide feedback on them.

That way, when trainees enter the classroom, they’re ready to discuss their ideas with more objectivity.

Methodology #3: Teaming-up

Trainees are more comfortable in a smaller setting, particularly if they feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of people in their lectures.

If a class has gotten too big, you can make it easier on everyone by splitting the class into smaller groups.

Get the entire class to break up into groups of 5 trainees or less.

Select the best student leaders in the group and assign them as the "team captains."

Let these team captains take care of scheduling and keeping their teammates on track.

Get creative with how you choose these team captains.

- You can give it to the person who is most active in class, or go by seniority.

- You could even do a random draw or raffle for it if you’d like!

The choice really is yours; again, just be sure to choose a leader who isn't afraid to do some planning ahead of time.

Make use of the roles and permissions to assign a team captain in every team.

The team captain can be given special permissions or privileges like muting a member, allowing a member to speak etc.

All-in-all

The early 2000s are over and there is no more a dearth of content.

The internet has made sure content is readily available to anyone who wants to upskill and that too for free.

The problem that needs solving is accountability and motivation.

However, almost all popular learning management software follows the same old model: watch a video, take a quiz, repeat.

This model should have died long back.

TalentLMS, Docebo, and Blackboard are the top learning management software in the market today.

All of them lack two major things: community and member interaction.

They miss out on the social learning aspect of training.

Here is a small comparison on how they fare (or lack) in today's learning environment.

Comparison of traditional LMS softwares


As you can see above, this heavy dependency on pre-recorded lectures and simple quizzes has made the potential for peer-to-peer social learning near impossible.

Here are a few reviews from G2 I collected which illustrate the above facts. 



Social learning is a lot like virtual karaoke.

It’s only fun when there’s someone else right there with you.

You see, “singing along” in voice rooms with a shared common screen makes it seem like everyone is included in the process.

This is where Scenes comes into play. It makes your online training as social and interactive as possible.

It’s a community experience designed to engage trainees so that they feel involved even though there’s a screen between them.

Here is how Scenes fares compared to other LMS in the market. 

Not only does it have all the traditional LMS features but it has mastered the social learning elements too. 

Scenes v/s Other LMS

Scenes v/s Other LMS software


Here are some of the key features Scenes offers that are a deal-breaker for any LMS in today’s times:

i) Different ways to engage aka real social learning

Through different engagement channels like chat, voice rooms, forums etc your trainees can do the following:

- Your trainees will have the opportunity to talk to each other in voice rooms. Trust me, during the training period, the voice rooms will be flooded with trainees.

- They can have face-to-face conversations through video.

- They can solve assignments together.

- They can also have deep conversations in threads and forums.

Scenes has all these interactions on its platform. You can create a new channel just at the click of a button.

ii) Live streaming of events and workshops 

Teaching is a very live-stream-centric activity.

You never went to lectures to just consume content, you went there to become inspired and made curious.

You can always find content in slide decks, books and videos.

Stats show that a live video would hook trainees up to 15 times more than a pre-recorded one. 

You do not need to integrate Zoom to ensure live-streaming in your training community. Scenes already has a live-streaming component.

iii) Badges, coins, and other incentive methods to motivate and engage members

Trainees who achieve something significant in the community can be awarded special badges.

The other trainees would look up to the badge-holders in all aspects. This will motivate them to be better.

Scenes has different kinds of  features like community coins, badges, and leader boards which can be used in creative ways.

At Scenes, we’ve been at the forefront of solving remote learning since the day pandemic began. We ran our own learning communities and courses - wherein the insights led us to build our own platform, Scenes (read our story). If you need help enabling social learning inside your organization, we’d be happy to help - book a call.

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